Hannah McLean

Hannah McLean

Hannah McLean is a fourth-year Sociology student from Collingwood, Ontario, who participated in a virtual internship with a non-profit organization in Madrid, Spain, with a focus on human rights law.

Hannah’s family background shaped her values about caring for humanity and the planet, and her studies at Bishop’s have enhanced her commitment to social issues and her interest in the legal system and politics. She aspires to a career in law where she will be able to help bring about positive change for those who have been marginalized and disadvantaged in society.

With the COVID-19 pandemic making travel impracticable, Hannah sought out a virtual internship to gain valuable experience in her chosen field. She was accepted to work remotely with a Madrid-based human rights group that specializes in promoting the defense of human rights before international organizations.

Hannah embraced the internship as an invaluable opportunity. “I wanted to enhance my awareness of global social justice challenges and position myself to realize my career ambition to become an attorney with the professional skills to advocate and work for justice, especially for those who are particularly disadvantaged and challenged in our too-often inequitable societies,” she explains.

Hannah worked with one of Spanish group’s lawyers and an organization called Solidaridad Venezuela to research the Venezuelan diaspora, which has seen millions of citizens leave that country due to political instability and social inequality.

As her research progressed, Hannah was better able to understand Solidaridad Venezuela’s mission as a human rights NGO and their work to help the unprecedented numbers of Venezuelans seeking asylum in other countries. She sought out Spanish-Canadian NGOs who are dedicated to helping Spanish peoples in Canada and around the world and worked on an outreach plan to connect these organizations with Solidaridad Venezuela.

The experience was not without its frustrations, however, as Hannah faced many obstacles reaching out to other NGOs for potential collaboration opportunities. However, these challenges only served to heighten her awareness of the difficulties faced by disadvantaged people and have made Hannah more motivated than ever to make a difference.

“Working with an international human rights NGO, along with my meetings with the firm’s lawyers and my research, has only strengthened my desire to continue campaigning for a better world,” Hannah shares.

Her B.E.S.T. project experience has reinforced her drive to contribute to the advancement of humanitarian causes, and Hannah plans to attend law school after graduation from Bishop’s as the next step towards her career in this field.